THE TEMPLATE TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST TRUMP’S LIES
Aside from some exemplary individual work, the news media failed miserably in covering Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. Now that Trump is president and has made it abundantly clear that the men and women responsible for following and analyzing his every word and deed are his greatest enemy, and by extension the nation’s, the question is whether the news media is capable of facing down a man for whom being truthful simply is not possible after he pretty much got a free pass when he merely was a pretender to the throne.
How the news media responds to Trump — and it must be in a forceful and effective way to have any chance of succeeding — will say much about whether it is capable of reclaiming its vital Fourth Estate role as a guardian of our values, something it pretty much pissed away during the campaign. I for one am pessimistic that the nation’s leading newspapers and their brethren are up to this hugely daunting task because it will require nothing less than blowing up the archaic professional model that has much to do with the media’s malaise in the first place.
The task is so daunting because Trump and his minions have taken an extremely effective trick from the Joseph Goebbels playbook. (Yes, the Nazi analogy is appropriate. If you don’t like it, tough.)
That trick is to create a lie-based alternate reality — or “alternative facts,” as Trump administration spokesmouth Kellyanne Conway unashamedly puts it — to dispute the real facts presented by its arch enemy, a media vulnerable to bullying, its credibility is in the toilet because charges that it is a purveyor of “false news” have been remarkably successful despite our historic reverence for constitutionally-guaranteed press freedoms that have been the envy of the world. That trick, with a big assist from the Kremlin, substantially helped Trump get “elected” and will grease the skids of his reality show administration unless the media fights back.
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